Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Let the Characters Talk

Since I am vying for the horrible blogger of the new year award I decided to pull out one of the five writerly posts I have in my head and appease you all with it.
On a lighter note tho' I got the inspiration for this blog post yesterday. here we go

I am a control Freak, I have not learnt how to let my muse inspire me, and I definitely don't let my characters lead the way even tho' I am el Pantser Supremo.

In my current WIP my hero is Latino and yes I was inspired by Charlie Sheen and Enrique Iglesias, in a bid to make him into a character I really liked I was going to make him talk like George Lopez and use his popular catch phrases like es ta loca? or que la (pardon my spelling) but my hero staunchly refused to speak a word of spanish, everytime I went down that route, my brain froze up.

I eventually let him be and just wrote whatever et voila my latino hero showed me himself, he was raised in America, in the social security system and adopted by numerous families; the only time he speaks spanish is when he is in bed with his lady love and no he does not say te quiero or te amo he just calls her chica - if he ever has kids with her he would totally call their son mijo.

I like that! am cool with that! I know him inside out and I am pleased to be working with him since he looks like my longterm crush - Enrique Iglesias; but even better he so tattles on the heroine, he told me she is always on the defensive and she is disgusted by abused women- she thinks they are weak (this is a big flaw we might not be able to get over, but he is working on her).

Here is my advice for letting your characters do their own talking and not be influenced by your idea of who you think they are
oh la la!
  1. When the words are not flowing easily to your fingertips that could be an indicator that you need to switch POVs or are not being true to your characters
  2. It does not hurt to stare at images of Enrique Iglesias or Johnny Depp for a long time
  3. The minute something unplanned for comes up, go with the flow and then take some time out to see how that could mesh with your preconceived ideas or original storyline.
  4. Learn to fall in love with your characters, that way you would still be able to write them in a good light when they throw you a curve ball.
  5.  Maybe because my deadlines are self imposed, I don't write like my stories have to be published so if my true to himself hero starts to look highly unpopular I chalk it down as a writing exercise and move on.
  6. don't forget if all else fails go back and  repeat #2 over and over again, it has been tried tested and true.



  1. Did you say something? Sorry, I kind of zoned out on that photo of Enrique. And now he's serenading me. In my head.

    I heart my characters too!

  2. Yep, I agree with Samantha. Hope there was nothing important in that post, all I can remember right now is that pikkie :)~


  3. Oh shoot. Now I have to reread the post. I never got past point #2. :)

    Ref: dialog
    Being Hispanic, I can tell you most of us weave our Spanish with English so seamlessly that it almost becomes its own language--hence Spanglish.

  4. Oh yeah. Enrique Iglesias is such a hottie. Maria is right about Spanglish. Especially here in San Antonio.

    I have an award for you on my blog :)
    It's not as great as that photo of Enrique - sigh - but it's the best I could do - LOL.

  5. He had the mole removed didn't he? Cute as a button and I love the discription of your MC! Great advice!

  6. Nice and very true. Now I have to find a nice photo of Johnny to stare at!

  7. I love to fall in love with my characters!! Oh but staring at Mr Iglesias as pictured here definitely helps. Sigh.

    I think you mc sounds just amazing - what a hero!!!

    Take care

  8. I was with you up until the pic...then the drool and glazed eyes took over! Wow, he's beautiful!

    But seriously, excellent advice. Thanks for this post (and the pic)!

  9. There you go getting me all dreamy this morning. I am totally in love with my characters. Writing is like having a really good dream.

  10. Excellent advice, Joanna. And now back to #2 again...and again...and again.

  11. Your hero sounds hot. When you’re done with him, send him this way.

  12. I love rule two:)! And yes, we must give up control to our characters. Great post!

  13. So I know there are words in this post, but for some reason, I can't read them. My eyes keep focusing on one thing!

  14. Amen to number two! LOL...

    But the others are just as good too.

  15. #2 is a must. I'm surprised it's not in all the writing books.

    Favorite quote of the week: "What would writers do without actors? ... Actors... they're the most important ones. It's not the words you say; it's how good you look when you're saying them." Ricky Gervais - Golden Globes 2010

  16. Great post. Thanks for reminding us that "It does not hurt to stare at images of Enrique Iglesias or Johnny Depp for a long time"
    to help us create better!

  17. Joanna! You are a runner-up in my contest! Send me your mailing address and I'll get your pin out to you! : )

  18. Hi, Joanna,

    Opening the lines of communication between myself and my character works wonders. I listen to them and let them lead the way. I might sound like a crackpot, but usually I do end up falling in love with the male leads (along with the leading ladies) by The End. :D

  19. That is interesting (and a challenge) to have a Spanish character and not know Spanish! But you've found a very creative way around that. Good for you. Have a great week!

  20. Ooh another Enrique fan. Who cares what else you said Joanna? Just post the pictures girl. (He was my Prince of Darkness too after a bit of editing!)

    Seriously I let my characters walk all over me. Maybe that's why they're so undisciplined and naughty. Really, you have to give them the reins sometimes!

    No ones giving you the bad blogger award. You just post when you get another crushy pic!

    Take care

    Denise :)

  21. Great tips, Joanna! And lovely pics always always help me too. BTW, Great to see you!!

  22. Argh, Blogger just ate my comment!

    I love it when characters start coming alive.

  23. I've had the same problem before. I find it amazing that our characters can sometimes really have a mind of their own.

  24. My characters come to life. In fact they tend to start ruling my life. I am battling one who refuses to be a secondary character.
    I tried #2 but Enrique Iglesias and Johnny Depp did nothing for me.
    So I substituted Aishwarya Rai and Diane Kruger, It worked much better!

  25. The characters aren't behaving themselves!

    "Learn to fall in love with your characters, that way you would still be able to write them in a good light when they throw you a curve ball."

    Or, for that matter, when they go off and do something really, really, really dastardly and despicable.

  26. "So I substituted Aishwarya Rai and Diane Kruger, It worked much better!"

    Good choices!

  27. Enrique is sooooooo hot, hot, hot.***whistles***


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